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This unintentionally obscene amuse-bouche was served during our recent dinner at L’Espalier, my favorite restaurant in Boston. We started with martinis (lemon twist for the Long-Suffering Husband, olives for me) and then the bodacious little bites appeared at the table:


Gives new meaning to the term AMUSE-bouche. These were rhubarb-flavored meringues, served with a mango-ginger shot.

I think they ought to build on this promising beginning and come up with an entire meal of amusements, a culinary comedy menu. An all-sex menu would also be good. I wrote in one of my stories about an aphrodisiac menu, but I like the comedy idea even better. They might try something along the lines of Brock Davis’ food art:

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The problem is that, clever as they are, these culinary jokes are mainly visual. They don’t inspire one’s appetite. So it’s a challenge for any aspiring chef out there… but look what arrived next!


Cheese shortbread, smoked gouda éclair, potato bonbon with pretzel crust and spinach financier.

I loved the wit of that second amuse-bouche, a variety of sweet pastries refashioned as miniature savories. They were exquisite. The most delicious dish was this soup of yellow tomato, pattypan squash and other summer vegetables. A triumph!


Served with 2010 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs–utterly delicious and a favorite of mine in the sparkling category.

Next up, the salad of lettuces with compressed melon and wild rose, garnished with a lime-ginger sorbet. The little standing cylinder thing must be all the rage now. I’ve seen it done back home with hearts of palm.


Paired with 2012 Kerpen Spätlese Riesling from the Mosel, a good match for the melon.

Next was a coddled egg dish with chard and pine nuts, which I forgot to photograph. The alcohol was taking effect! I have recorded that it was served with Beaujolais, an interesting pairing for an egg dish. Then, a truffled risotto with asparagus, watercress and roasted tomato. All local produce, of course!


Served with a 2009 Barbaresco which I found over-oxidized and raisiny.

An excellent cheese plate containing a Loire chevrot from Poitou, Robiola a due latti from Piedmont, Barndance farmyard cheese from Massachusetts, tangy “Timberdoodle” semi-hard cheese from Vermont, and Point Reyes Bay Blue. The cheese was a highlight of the meal, but by this time I was dangerously full and very drunk.

cheese course

Yummy! The wine was a 2011 Barbera d’Alba.

Finally the dessert which also went unphotographed (sorry Simone!). I remember nothing of it, but according to the menu it was brandy pound cake with fresh peaches and lemon-thyme ice cream. Served with a 2007 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, which I do remember quite distinctly.

They sent us on our way with a dainty macaron in cellophane to enjoy later. If you’re ever in Boston, this is a great place for a special occasion meal. I just hope you don’t end up with the hand-kissing waiter…